I just finished this book -- here's my review:
Number 58 for the year and first book for the month of May, Dante's Numbers is the seventh installment of the Nic Costa series, and it's a bizarre one. Then again, if these Roman cops ever solved anything not bizarre, the books wouldn't be half as good as they are. I've been following these books since Hewson first started writing them, and I finish them wanting more. If that's not a recommendation, I don't know what more can be said.
The action begins in Rome where director Roberto Tonti's new movie, Inferno (based on Dante's wonderful work) is about to make its premiere. But right away, the lead actor, Allan Prime, is murdered in a most gruesome and very public way, while the lead actress, Maggie Flavier, is the victim of an assault. Add to this the theft of one of Italy's national treasures and there you have a fine opening to an awesome story. The Carbinieri take control of the murder investigation, claiming that it is obviously following along the lines of the different levels of hell as described by Dante. The police (our old friends from the previous books in this series) are relegated to being the protectors of Italian treasures when the movie group leave for San Francisco for the US premiere. That's when the story really begins to get strange.
The plot set up is quite well done; I won't go into it but not everything is as it seems here. The rivalry between the Roman police and the Carbinieri is fun; the characters outside of our regular group of detective friends are, for the most part, well drawn. If you haven't read this series, do start with the first one, because the characters and their relationship with one another develop from the first book onward.
I really enjoy Hewson's writing, and this series, and I can recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good mystery, or enjoys police procedurals with a twist, or to anyone perhaps wanting to try a new series author. In this particular book, some of the plot elements may be a bit unbelievable and maybe a little too much sometimes. I do have to say (without giving anything away) that I felt a bit robbed at the end with the identity of the killer (you'll figure out why when you read it). In the long run, however, it is quite suspenseful and a good mystery read.